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Enjoy these video highlights of the best dunks from the second round of the 2014 NBA playoffs:

The following statement has been issued by Mike Bass, Executive Vice President, Communications, regarding today’s meeting of the NBA Advisory/Finance Committee:

“The Advisory/Finance Committee met again this afternoon via conference call.  The Committee discussed the recent media appearances by Donald Sterling and Shelly Sterling, received updates on the hiring of Dick Parsons as the Los Angeles Clippers interim CEO and on his meeting yesterday with Clippers employees, and reviewed the status of the charge for termination of the Clippers’ ownership.  The Committee will reconvene next week.”

In response to statements made by Shelly Sterling, wife of Donald Sterling, NBA spokesman Mike Bass stated:

“Under the NBA Constitution, if a controlling owner’s interest is terminated by a 3/4 vote, all other team owners’ interests are automatically terminated as well.  It doesn’t matter whether the owners are related as is the case here.  These are the rules to which all NBA owners agreed to as a condition of owning their team.”

NBA owners meet again to discuss Clippers situation

NBA owners went back to work Wednesday on Commissioner Adam Silver’s desire to end Donald Sterling’s ownership of the Los Angeles Clippers.

The advisory/finance committee held its second conference call in the past two weeks, reviewing the timing and process for forcing Sterling to sell the franchise following his lifetime ban for making racist comments.

League spokesman Mike Bass said in a statement that the committee also discussed the search for a new CEO and got an update on Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum’s visit with Clippers employees. The owners plan to meet again next week.

– Associated Press

Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder is the winner of the Maurice Podoloff Trophy as the 2013-14 NBA Most Valuable Player, the NBA announced today. It is the first MVP award for Durant, who captured his fourth scoring title in five seasons, joining Wilt Chamberlain, George Gervin and Michael Jordan as the only players to accomplish this feat. Despite teammate Russell Westbrook appearing in only 46 games, Durant guided the Thunder to the NBA’s second-best record at 59-23.

Durant totaled 1,232 points, including 119 first-place votes, from a panel of 124 voters that consisted of sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the United States and Canada as well as an NBA.com MVP fan vote, making for 125 total ballots. For the fifth consecutive season, the NBA gave fans the opportunity to submit their votes by ranking their top five choices through a dedicated Web page on NBA.com. The fan vote counted as one vote and was compiled with the 124 media votes to determine the winner. Players were awarded 10 points for each first-place vote, seven points for each second-place vote, five for each third-place vote, three for each fourth-place vote and one for each fifth-place vote received.

Rounding out the top five in voting are Miami’s LeBron James (891 points, six first-place votes), the Los Angeles Clippers’ Blake Griffin (434 points), the Chicago Bulls’ Joakim Noah (322 points), and the Houston Rockets’ James Harden (85 points).

Durant averaged a career-best 32.0 points to go with 7.4 rebounds and 5.5 assists, also a career high. In capturing his fourth scoring title, he joined Jordan (10), Chamberlain (seven), Gervin (four), and Allen Iverson (four) as the only players in league annals to win at least four scoring titles. He shot .503 from the field, .391 from three-point range, and .873 from the free throw line, leading all players in free throws made (703) and attempted (805). Durant authored two 50-point games, topped the 40-point mark on 14 occasions, and turned in 17 games with at least 30 points and 10 rebounds.

Durant’s consistency was highlighted by his streak of 41 consecutive games scoring at least 25 points, which ran from Jan. 7 through April 6, and was the longest streak since Michael Jordan did it in 40 straight games during the 1986-87 season. It’s the third-longest streak (single season) in NBA history, behind Wilt Chamberlain, who did it in all 80 games during the 1961-62 season, and Oscar Robertson, who went for 25-plus in 46 straight games during the 1963-64 season. Chamberlain did it for 106 straight games over the course of the 1961-62 and 1962-63 seasons.

The winner of four NBA Player of the Month honors in 2013-14 (October-November, December, January and March), Durant was also named Player of the Week six times (Dec. 2, Dec. 30, Jan. 20, Jan. 27, Feb. 10 and March 24).

The NBA MVP trophy is named in honor of the late Maurice Podoloff, the first commissioner of the NBA who served from 1946 until his retirement in 1963.

Nets beat Raptors 97-83, force Game 7

Deron Williams had the Brooklyn Nets speeding toward a Game 7 when suddenly everything stopped.

He had just crashed to the court with what looked like yet another ankle injury. Kevin Garnett waved for help, and Williams slowly began limping back toward the bench. Then he decided to stay in.

For all the big names and big salaries on the Nets, Williams knows they aren’t going anywhere unless he leads them.

Williams shook off his second-half injury to score 23 points and Brooklyn forced a seventh game in its first-round series by beating the Toronto Raptors 97-83 on Friday night…

DeMar DeRozan scored 28 for the Raptors, who will have to go the distance if they are to win a seven-game series for the first time in franchise history. They haven’t won any postseason series since 2001, and never really had a chance to wrap this one up after falling behind by 26 points…

Lowry shot 4 of 16 for 11 points after scoring 36 in the Raptors’ Game 5 victory. He was the only other Toronto player in double figures.

– Associated Press

The 2014 NBA playoffs are off to a great start. The first round isn’t even over yet, but there’s been classic, awesome, fun action. Enjoy some video highlights:

Dallas Mavericks’ forward-center DeJuan Blair has been suspended one game without pay for kicking center Tiago Splitter of the San Antonio Spurs in the head, it was announced today by Rod Thorn, President, Basketball Operations.

The incident, in which Blair was ejected, occurred with 3:08 remaining in the fourth quarter of the Mavericks’ 93-89 loss to the visiting San Antonio Spurs last night at American Airlines Center. Blair will serve his suspension tomorrow when the Mavericks host the Spurs.

To view the play, click on this link.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has banned Donald Sterling for life from any association with the Clippers or the NBA, it was announced today at a press conference in Manhattan.

Commissioner Silver has also fined Mr. Sterling $2.5 million, the maximum amount allowed under the NBA Constitution. The fine money will be donated to organizations dedicated to anti-discrimination and tolerance efforts that will be jointly selected by the NBA and the Players Association.

As part of the lifetime ban, Mr. Sterling may not attend any NBA games or practices, be present at any Clippers office or facility, or participate in any business or player personnel decisions involving the team. He will also be barred from attending NBA Board of Governors meetings and participating in any other league activity.

Commissioner Silver also announced that he will urge the Board of Governors to exercise its authority to force a sale of the team.

The discipline issued today is based on the Commissioner’s conclusion that Mr. Sterling violated league rules through his expressions of offensive and hurtful views, the impact of which has been widely felt throughout the league.

Charlotte Bobcats chairman Michael Jordan issued the following statement today on the racially-insensitive comments allegedly made in private by Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling:

“I look at this from two perspectives – as a current owner and a former player. As an owner, I’m obviously disgusted that a fellow team owner could hold such sickening and offensive views. I’m confident that Adam Silver will make a full investigation and take appropriate action quickly. As a former player, I’m completely outraged. There is no room in the NBA - or anywhere else - for the kind of racism and hatred that Mr. Sterling allegedly expressed. I am appalled that this type of ignorance still exists within our country and at the highest levels of our sport. In a league where the majority of players are African-American, we cannot and must not tolerate discrimination at any level.”

Statement from National Basketball Retired Players Association regarding alleged comments by Donald Sterling:

“While facts are still being confirmed as it pertains to alleged comments made by Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, the National Basketball Retired Players Association (NBRPA) finds these reported statements deeply troubling. While every American is entitled to due process, offensive comments pertaining to race have no place in our society and certainly not in professional basketball. Our long-term partners, the NBA and National Basketball Players Association, have been amongst the most progressive institutions globally as it relates to fostering diversity and inclusion, and our membership similarly believes that bigotry and hatred must always be combatted.”

The National Basketball Retired Players Association (NBRPA) is comprised of former professional basketball players from the NBA, ABA, Harlem Globetrotters and WNBA. It is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization with a two-pronged mission to assist former NBA, ABA, Harlem Globetrotters and WNBA players in their transition from the playing court into life after the game, while also positively impacting communities and youth through basketball.

The Fort Wayne Mad Ants defeated the Santa Cruz Warriors 119-113 to secure the 2014 NBA Development League Championship for the first time in team history. The Mad Ants’ Tony Mitchell led all scorers with 32 points, while 2014 NBA D-League Co-Most Valuable Player Ron Howard and teammate Matt Bouldin finished the game with 23 and 20 points, respectively. The Warriors Seth Curry scored a team-high 29 points in defeat.

Fort Wayne led by as many as 20 points in the second half but Santa Cruz wouldn’t fall quietly, capturing the lead for the first time since the first quarter when Mychel Thompson connected on an and-one layup to take a two-point lead, 103-101, with 5:01 to play. The teams knotted in four ties and the lead changed hands twice before the Mad Ants victory was sealed. Howard hit a jumper to take go ahead 113-111 and the team never looked back en route to the six-point championship win. The Mad Ants finished their season with a perfect 6-0 record, having won 17 of their last 20 regular season contests.

Both clubs shot less than 40 percent in a jitter-filled first quarter, eventually scoring 27 apiece to end the frame, the first NBA D-League finals quarter played in Fort Wayne.

Mitchell put the Mad Ants on his back in the second quarter, notching 17 points on eight-of-12 shooting from the field as the home team stretched its lead to as many as 19 points. Santa Cruz’ Cameron Jones kept his Warriors in the game, though, scoring nine of his 13 first half points in the second period. Mitchell scored 17 of Fort Wayne’s 38 second-quarter points and his team outscored Santa Cruz by as many in the second (38-21), shooting 59 percent as a team to the Warriors’ 39 percent. Fort Wayne took a 65-48 lead into the halftime break.

The Warriors cut Fort Wayne’s 20-point third quarter lead to as few as five points, 83-78, as the team embarked on a 13-1 run in the second half of the period. The Mad Ants weathered the storm, though, finishing the third up 11, 91-80. Santa Cruz held Mitchell scoreless in the third and Jones and Seth Curry combined for 18 of the Warriors’ 32 points in the stanza.

Jones scored 28 for the Warriors while Lance Goulbourne chipped in with 20 in the loss.

First NBA Cafe in the world opening in Manila, Philippines

The National Basketball Association (NBA) today announced that the first NBA Cafe in the world will officially open on April 25 in Manila, Philippines, at the SM Aura at Bonifacio Global City, Taguig.

Here’s what the press release says:

NBA Cafe Manila is a first-of-its-kind NBA destination which features a unique dining and entertainment experience that captures the energy and feel of the NBA. Managed and operated locally by Haute Couture F&B Concepts, Inc., NBA Cafe Manila will feature larger than life NBA displays, unique memorabilia, and basketball-themed accents and fixtures, all complemented with an exciting menu. It is the first sports bar and restaurant in Manila catering specifically to basketball fans where patrons will enjoy quintessential American bar and grill favorites.

“Basketball is the most popular sport in the Philippines and it makes sense that the first NBA Cafe anywhere in the world would open for our passionate fans in Manila,” said Carlo Singson, NBA Country Manager, Philippines. “NBA Cafe Manila is a unique one-stop destination for casual and avid sports fans alike and is another great way for them to experience the NBA first-hand.”

Gordon Hayward of the Utah Jazz and WNBA Legend Tina Thompson will be the featured guests at the grand opening of NBA Cafe Manila. Hayward was selected 9th overall by the Utah Jazz in the 2010 NBA Draft and Thompson was a four-time WNBA champion, nine-time WNBA All-Star, and was the first-ever draft pick in WNBA history. Gordon and Thompson will also be in Manila to participate in the Jr. NBA/Jr. WNBA Philippines 2014 National Training Camp.

NBA Cafe Manila’s menu is inspired by classic American cuisine, offering a wide selection of dishes with an emphasis on nutrition and flavor. Only the finest products and ingredients are used, and the top priority is having the food prepared and served promptly by skilled chefs and servers.

“The concept of NBA Cafe Manila takes all aspects of the NBA into play,” said Nian Rigor, General Manager, NBA Cafe Manila/Haute Couture F&B Concepts, Inc. “From the team visuals to the use of the colors red, white and blue, everything will make our fans feel right at home with the authentic NBA surroundings we’ve recreated. NBA Cafe Manila will be the metro’s default destination for all things sports, all things NBA, providing fans with the ultimate sports, entertainment and dining experience.”

Fort Wayne Mad Ants guard/forward Ron Howard and current Minnesota Timberwolves and former Iowa Energy guard/forward Othyus Jeffers were today named the 2013-14 NBA Development League’s Co-Most Valuable Players, as voted by the NBA D-League’s 17 head coaches.

Howard (6-5, 200, Valparaiso) played in 49 regular season games for the Mad Ants, averaging a team-high and career-best 20.5 points to go with 4.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists. Howard spearheaded Fort Wayne’s offense, leading the team in scoring 24 times and serving as the high-assist man in 22 games. A seven-year Mad Ants veteran, Howard became the league’s all-time leading scorer on March 29 when he scored 20 points to pass Renaldo Major’s previous record of 4,252 points.

Selected as an All-Star in 2014 for the third time in his career, Howard led his Mad Ants to a franchise record and NBA D-League best 36-14 record, the East Division Championship and the top-overall seed in the 2014 NBA D-League playoffs. Fort Wayne won 13 of its last 15 regular season games and boast a perfect 4-0 record in the 2014 postseason having swept the Reno Bighorns and Sioux Falls Skyforce en route to the team’s first-ever NBA D-League Finals appearance. In four playoff games, Howard is averaging 17.3 points, 4.3 assists and 3.8 rebounds.

The recipient of back-to-back NBA D-League Jason Collier Sportsmanship awards, Howard and the Mad Ants begin their inaugural trip to the NBA D-League Finals tonight when the team takes on the Santa Cruz Warriors in California. Howard will be presented with his Co-MVP trophy on Saturday when the series moves to Fort Wayne for Game 2.

Jeffers (6-5, 210, Robert Morris) played in 44 of the Energy’s 50 regular season games before earning a GATORADE Call-Up to the Timberwolves on April 8. He averaged a team-high 20.9 points, good for eighth-best in the NBA D-League, to go with 9.9 rebounds (fourth) and 2.2 steals (fifth). He led Iowa in scoring 20 times and was the team’s high-rebounder in an additional 20 contests. Jeffers scored in double figures in 43 of his 44 games with the Energy, scoring 30 or more points twice.

A 2014 NBA D-League All-Star, Jeffers joins Howard as the only NBA D-League players to play in three NBA D-League All-Star Games. He was named NBA D-League Performer of the Week on Dec. 2 and was the season’s first NBA D-League Player of the Month for games played in November and December. During the 2013-14 season, Jeffers appeared in six NBA contests following call-ups to Minnesota and the San Antonio Spurs. A five-time GATORADE Call-Up recipient, Jeffers owns NBA averages of 3.8 points, 1.6 rebounds and 11.9 minutes over 37 games.

Jeffers led the Energy to the Central Division Championship and the third-overall seed in the 2014 NBA D-League playoffs before being signed by Minnesota. A five-year veteran of the Energy, Jeffers was the 2009 NBA D-League’s Rookie of the Year and boasts career averages of 19.0 points, 8.3 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.9 steals and 35.8 minutes in 185 games.

“I’m thrilled that our coaches honored both Othyus and Ron as Co-MVPs in our league this season,” said Chris Alpert, Vice President of Basketball Operations for the NBA D-League. “Both Ron and Othyus had impressive seasons, leading their teams to Division Championships while putting up the best numbers of their respective careers. I’m proud to honor them both, and congratulate each of them on the tremendous and well-deserved award.”

Heat edge Bobcats for 2-0 series lead

LeBron James scored 32 points and added eight assists, Chris Bosh scored 20 points and the Miami Heat held on to beat the Charlotte Bobcats 101-97 on Wednesday night to take a 2-0 lead in the teams’ Eastern Conference first-round series.

Dwyane Wade scored 15 points, plus had a steal in the final seconds to help seal the win for Miami. Mario Chalmers added 11 for the Heat.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist scored 22 points for Charlotte, which got 18 points and 13 rebounds from Al Jefferson, who played through a left plantar fascia strain and shot 9 for 23 from the floor.

– Associated Press

The title say it all. Enjoy this video of the top 10 poster dunks of the 2013-14 NBA regular season:

Maine Red Claws guard Frank Gaines was today named the 2014 NBA Development League Most Improved Player, as voted on by the 17 NBA D-League head coaches. The award, which was instituted prior to the 2009-10 season, honors the player who demonstrated the most significant improvement through the course of the season.

Gaines (6-3, 195, IPFW) finished his rookie campaign in the NBA D-League having played in 48 of the team’s 50 regular season games, averaging a team-high 22.4 points, good for fourth-best in the NBA D-League. He added 3.7 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 35.4 minutes.

A 34-game starter, Gaines began his professional career averaging 19.2 points in November, December and January, before finishing the season averaging 25.4 points in February, March and April.

“As a rookie with the Red Claws this season, Frank seized the opportunity to develop all aspects of his game,” said Chris Alpert, Vice President of Basketball Operations for the NBA D-League. “I’m thrilled that the league’s coaches took note of his marked improvement during the season, and I congratulate Frank on an impressive inaugural campaign.”

Gaines becomes the fifth player, and second member of the Red Claws, to earn Most Improved Player honors, joining Cameron Jones (Santa Cruz, 2012-13), Kenny Hayes (Maine, 2011-12), Dar Tucker (New Mexico, 2010-11), and Mildon Ambres (Idaho, 2009-10) as NBA D-League players to have received the award.

The top-seeded Fort Wayne Mad Ants will face the sixth-seeded Santa Cruz Warriors in the 2014 NBA Development League Finals, which tip off on Thursday, April 24, at 9:30 p.m. ET, with the Warriors hosting the Mad Ants in Santa Cruz.

The Mad Ants, who are undefeated in the 2014 NBA D-League postseason, will face off against the Warriors who are making their second consecutive trip to the NBA D-League Finals. The Mad Ants (4-0) swept the Reno Bighorns and the Sioux Falls Skyforce to reach the Finals for the first time in franchise history, after having amassed a league-best 34-16 regular season record. The Warriors (4-1) defeated the Los Angeles D-Fenders in two games before besting the Rio Grande Valley Vipers 2-1 in the second round to advance to the Championship round. Fort Wayne defeated Santa Cruz in the team’s lone regular season meeting.

CBS Sports Network resumes exclusive coverage of the 2014 NBA D-League postseason when it telecasts the first game of the 2014 NBA D-League Finals live from Santa Cruz, before following the series to Fort Wayne, Indiana, when the Mad Ants host Game Two on Saturday, April 26 at 7:30 p.m. ET, which will air at 10:30 p.m. ET that night. If the series requires a third game, CBS Sports Network will televise the decisive Championship game live on Monday, April 28, at 7 p.m. ET from Indiana. Brent Stover and Alaa Abdelnaby call the action on CBS Sports Network for all three Finals games.

Sioux Falls Skyforce guard DeAndre Liggins has been selected as the 2013-14 NBA Development League’s Defensive Player of the Year by a vote of the league’s 17 head coaches, it was announced today.

Liggins (6-6, 209, Kentucky) appeared in 42 regular season games for the Skyforce, anchoring the defensive efforts of a Sioux Falls team that held their opponents to league-lows of only 45 percent shooting from the field and 100.1 points per 100 possessions. Sioux Falls’ opponents averaged 102.9 points, good for second-lowest in the NBA D-League. As an individual, he averaged an NBA D-League best 2.6 steals, to go with 14.2 points and 4.8 assists.

Liggins’ defensive prowess helped Sioux Falls to a 31-19 record during the regular season and the fourth seed in the 2014 NBA D-League Playoffs. The Skyforce defeated the Canton Charge 2-1 in the best-of-three first round series, and were defeated by the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, the top overall seed in the 2014 NBA D-League postseason, in second round playoff action.

“DeAndre has demonstrated his ability to be a consistent lock-down defender all season long – a quality that surely helped Sioux Falls have such a successful campaign,” said Chris Alpert, Vice President of Basketball Operations for the NBA D-League. “A top prospect in the NBA D-League this season, I’m looking forward to watching DeAndre continue to develop on both ends of the court and congratulate him on this well-deserved accomplishment.”

Originally selected with the 53rd overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft by the Orlando Magic, Liggins has appeared in 57 career NBA games, including one with the Miami Heat during the 2013-14 campaign following a GATORADE Call-Up from the Skyforce. He owns NBA career averages of 1.6 points and 1.2 rebounds.

Enjoy this NBA video of the top 10 crossovers of the 2013-14 NBA regular season, which ended Wednesday night:

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